New craft breweries race to join Sacramento’s flourishing beer scene

Quinn Gardner prepares the taps at the Sactown Union Brewery in Sacramento on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. Sactown Union is one of 4 or 5 new breweries racing to open in time for Beer Week at the end of February. The design of the bar suggests Sacramento's Tower bridge.
Quinn Gardner prepares the taps at the Sactown Union Brewery in Sacramento on Tuesday, February 16, 2016. Sactown Union is one of 4 or 5 new breweries racing to open in time for Beer Week at the end of February. The design of the bar suggests Sacramento's Tower bridge.

Permits, planning, problem solving, meetings, phone calls, deadlines, missed deadlines, maybe a lawsuit here and there, and all kinds of other headaches along the way.

Oh, and beer.

Let the brewing begin for Flatland, Sactown Union, Claimstake, Fountainhead, Three Mile, Tilted Mash and Moonraker, with Big Sexy poised to make beer soon.

With so many breweries recently opening or ready to open in time for Sacramento Beer Week, Feb. 25 to March 6, we have the makings of a local craft beer boomlet. These new places will join the 40-plus craft breweries in the region that have helped reshape Sacramento’s image as a craft beer destination.

For Flatland Brewing in Elk Grove, Sacramento Beer Week is a key event, but it’s also stressful to confront because owner/brewmaster Andrew Mohsenzadegan is worried that his brew system is already too small to meet demand.

“We’re already growing. We have new equipment that we just got in and I’m trying to brew as much as possible,” he said. Flatland opened Jan. 22.

One of the most hotly anticipated openings is Sactown Union’s launch in East Sacramento. It has had its share of permit delays and construction issues, but is racing to do a soft opening by Feb. 27, a Saturday, from noon to midnight, and will feature Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen food truck.

Co-owner Quinn Gardner said he isn’t worried about the increasingly crowded field of local craft breweries.

“It’s better for craft overall. We can show there is a real difference in different people’s beers,” he said. “People can come here and we can say, ‘Have you been to Hoppy recently? Please go there, and the food is great, too. Have you been to Twelve Rounds yet? Please go check them out. I happen to love their IPA and their wheat beer is very different from what anybody else is offering.’

“This makes this part of East Sac an attraction, an anchor.”

In Elk Grove, Tilted Mash is brewing, too, though it won’t be up and running with enough beer in time for the all-local Sacramento Brewers Showcase, the event that kicks off Beer Week at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. The hotly attended Brewers Showcase is seen as a key event for new and established breweries to get their beer in the hands of scores of potential customers.

Tilted Mash co-owner Derrick Prosad said he and partner Jonathan Martinez have been so busy that the missed opportunity is not a setback. The brewery will have its “Hoppy Jefe” tropical India pale ale on tap at craft beer hot spot Old Town Pizza and Tap House on Feb. 28 for a Beer Week event.

Moonraker and Fountainhead Brewing won’t be open in time for Beer Week but will have a presence at Capitol Beer Fest and will be able to pour their beer. Big Sexy won’t be open in time for Beer Week but expects to be open in the weeks following. Three Mile Brewing in Davis had a soft opening last weekend and plans to participate in Beer Week, though it has yet to commit to any specific events.

Claimstake Brewing opened quietly in Rancho Cordova recently to work out the kinks. It does not plan to have its grand opening until March 19.

“Beer Week is exciting for us. It couldn’t have worked out better,” co-owner Mike Ryan said. “We can go to the events and have beer available. Beer Week is what gave us the impetus to do this brewery. Here we are a few years later and we’re actually in the Brewers Showcase.”

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob

Sacramento area’s newest breweries

Check websites for updates on hours and new beers:

Noteworthy Beer Week events:

Beyond the two major events, the all-local Sacramento Brewers Showcase on Day 1, Thursday, Feb. 25, and Capitol Beer Fest on March 6, here are some smaller events worth checking out. To pick your own Beer Week game plan, visit the Beer Week events page,

Sacramento Rivertrain, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, 400 N. Harbor Blvd., West Sacramento. Taste a variety of local craft beer while enjoying a relaxing and scenic train ride.

All Sour Day, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, Mraz Brewing, 2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 510, El Dorado Hills.

Beer and Book Release, 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Claimstake Brewing, 11366 Monier Park Place, Rancho Cordova. In perhaps the most unusual and artsy event of Beer Week, author Shawna Yang Ryan, daughter of co-owner Mike Ryan and sister-in-law of brewmaster Brian Palmer, returns to her hometown to read from her new novel, “Green Island.”

Five-course beer pairing dinner featuring Auburn Alehouse, 6 p.m. Feb. 28, Mulvaney’s B&L, 1215 19th St., Sacramento. $60.

Special barrel-aged beer flight of four beers, 3-8 p.m. Feb. 29, Track 7 in Natomas, 826 Professor Lane Suite 100, Sacramento. This is a chance to try four small-batch beers unavailable any other time of the year. Includes keepsake glass. $15.

Fieldwork Brewing tap takeover, 5 p.m. to close March 3, Capitol Beer and Tap Room, 2222 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento. Fieldwork, the hot new brewery in the Bay Area, recently announced plans to open a midtown tasting room. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, this is the event to taste several of Fieldwork’s highly regarded beers.

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